As is the case in many other facets of life in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the region’s public transportation network is very much shared between the two twin cities. Public transportation in the Twin Cities is racing to catch up with the metropolitan area’s growth over many years. However, many improvements have been made in recent years and many more are in the pipeline.
Today, Metro Transit is the primary operator of public transit in the region. Metro Transit is a division of the Metropolitan Council, which is the metropolitan planning organization for the seven county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Metro Transit inherited many buses routes that had replaced the Twin City Rapid Transit Company (TCRT)’s streetcar lines, the last of which closed down on June 19, 1954. Today, Metro Transit serves over 286,000 passengers each day on board its 133 bus routes, 2 light rail lines, and a single commuter rail route. This accounts for between 90 and 95 percent of all transit ridership in the region.
Some local jurisdictions have “opted-out” from the Metro Transit system and operate their own bus services instead, though there remains a degree of coordination and collaboration between the opt-out systems, Metro Transit, and the Metropolitan Council. These systems include the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, Plymouth Metrolink, Southwest Transit, and Maple Grove Transit.
METRO's first light rail line, the Blue Line (formerly the Hiawatha Line), opened on June 26, 2004, connecting Downtown Minneapolis to the Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America. It was the region's sole light rail line until June 14, 2014, when the Green Line opened connecting downtown Minneapolis with downtown St. Paul.
METRO operates about 123 bus routes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region. Local routes are served primarily by Gilligs, but high volume routes are served by articulated buses built by New Flyer. Express routes are served by MCI coach buses. On June 11, 2016, Metro Transit began operating the "A Line", its first bus rapid transit route.
The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) serves the communities of Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Lakeville, Rosemount, Savage, Shakopee, and Prior Lake in the southern Minneapolis-St. Paul region. and connects these communities to the Mall of America in Bloomfield, downtown Minneapolis, and downtown St. Paul. It also operates the "METRO Red Line", a BRT route connecting the Mall of America and Apple Valley.